City Municipal Council directs removal of illegal hoardings

Protest against disfigurement of flex banners results in culling

City Municipal Council directs removal of illegal hoardings

A protest by members of an organisation on Thursday night, who claimed that a banner displaying a religious programme had been torn down by miscreants, inadvertently triggered an effort by the City Municipalily to remove all the unauthorised flexes and banners in the City.

Municipal authorities began the impromptu drive at Bangarpet Circle and Domelight Circle at 11 am on Friday morning. A crane was used to remove flexes and banners erected without authorization. The maze of buntings and banners had defaced the image of the city, City officials said.

The removals took place after Municipal Commissioner Mahendra Kumar sought to register criminal cases against individuals and organisations who had erected flexes and banners in public places without permission from the City Municipal Council.

Police officials confessed that they were unsure of how to proceed as it is the first time that such a complaint has been made.

“I had told police that I would raise Thursday’s incident in the Friday peace meet. The police considered the issue seriously and promised to extend their support for a drive to remove illegal banners and flexes.

Hence a rapid drive was launched,” Mahendra Kumar told Deccan Herald. He added that it was easy to take action against people and organisations responsible for illegal banners as the name of the individual responsible is usually visible on the hoarding.

According to the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, prior permission from the City Municipality is mandatory before posters, banners and flex boards can be installed. Violation of the provision attracts a one-year jail term.

Kumar explained that illegal flexes usually adorn public areas during times of election, but that there was a change in the trend recently. He said that banners on every religious occasion or those congratulating political leaders on their birthday etc., are becoming common.

According to Kumar, the drive could not remove all illegal banners, but said that at least those celebrating religious occasions and political leaders will be removed. Activists from the Bajrang Dal activists had originally claimed that their hoardings near the Urban Development Authority office circle had been pulled down.

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